Blogs, trends, ideas and opinions

I was reading Weimers (2015) blog about what has been learned over the past 15 years in education. It struck me that I can now read a blog, unheard of 15 years ago. I can find out trends, ideas and opinions on the very day they are thought about rather than waiting for a “paper” to be published. Both means of information are useful; blogs for immediate access from around the globe and published papers for the scrutiny of the thoughts.

Technology has changed the way we do everything from finding out a bus route, shopping and of course learning. Weimer reflects that using social media has changed the way we connect with our students and also how the boundaries have had to be looked at because of it. It’s one thing having the information available 24/7 but are staff expected to do the same?

Whilst we are getting to grips with online and blended learning as a growth area in education we now find our students want mobile learning as part of that growth. Gaming used as a teaching tool is increasing in pace but Marquis (2015) for example suggests that we are not ready for it yet. Whilst our students are familiar with concepts learnt from gaming, i.e. game based learning – schools, FE and HE are not as the training in the pedagogy is lacking.

The Pew internet and American life project states that 95% of teens use the internet and nearly 50% have a smartphone. In the UK 82% of new university and college students own a smartphone and at least 20% have a tablet according to UCAS research. Naeemullah (2014) has already suggested that the mobile facilities are higher in terms of stability and that the move from E-learning to M–learning has a great potential. Whilst I would agree the same concerns remain. The ability of the staff to use the technology effectively and the quality of the delivery methods.

Our group has now finished the online delivery of a section of the course. We all had different levels of experience and confidence in the tasks and skills required. I think that some were able to demonstrate and practice what they knew and I certainly gained a lot of information from how to use more of the VLE system. Whilst there is a fair bit of research on group working I found very little on group working in the online environment. I think we all brought something to the project in the timeframe we were given. Ellis and Phelps (2000) illuminated that in their research face to face discussions were held before online projects began and that there were four stages of staff development to become confident online teachers: interest, focused support, development and acknowledgement. I think this project has touched on all of these aspects and I have a greater understanding of what is required to develop and deliver online.

Eight out of ten freshers have smartphones. (2015) http://www.ucasmedia.com/2014/eight-out-ten-freshers-have-smartphones

Ellis, A. Phelps, R. (2000) Staff development for online delivery: A collaborative, team based action learning model. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. Vol 16. No. 1

Marquis, J. (2015) Game-Based vs Traditional Learning – What’s the Difference? http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2012/08/game-based-vs-traditional-learning-whats-difference/

Naeemullah M (2014) Switching from E-learning to M-Learning in Higher Education. Scholarly Research Journal for Interdisciplinary Studies. Vo. II/XI

The  Pew internet and American life project (2015) http://www.onlineuniversities.com/articles/educators/getting-the-most-out-of-todays-education-tech-and-planning-for-the-future/

Weimer, M. (2015) What We Have and Haven’t Learned. http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/what-we-have-and-havent-learned/

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